NEWPORT NEWS – No one will ever appear in the Virginia High School League boys doubles tournament more than Menchville senior Jake Fields.

Surviving a worrisome Eastern Region semifinal Thursday, Fields ensured his fourth appearance in the state doubles quarterfinals and his second alongside classmate Stuart McCroskey. They held off Great Bridge's Blake Lassiter and Daniel Patterson 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 inside Centre Court Racquet Club to reach the final, which they lost 6-1, 6-2 to Princess Anne's Fredric Lilland and Robert Levin.

"Stuart and I have really been puting a lot of effort into learning each other's games," said Fields, who added that he's "almost certain" to play for Virginia State in the fall. "Our doubles chemistry is nice, and we're bonding off the court. We both know each other so well, we know what to say and when to say it.

"Sometimes that's better than having extra tennis skills. That will give you that extra push in the match."

It didn't look like an extra push would be required after the first set, but the Southeastern District champion Wildcats recovered from a foot-fault-filled beginning.

"We started really hot, but the other team really started picking up their game," McCroskey said. "All credit to them."

The Monarchs fell behind Great Bridge by an early service break in the second set on the fast indoor courts and didn't catch up. The third set wasn't typical – the last five games were service breaks.

Fields ripped two forehand returns as Menchville broke serve on four consecutive points to go ahead 5-3. But then, with Fields serving and holding a match point at 40-30, two Great Bridge volley winners and a double fault made it 5-4. The Wildcats led 40-love on left-hander Patterson's serve, but the Monarchs hung in there, saving four game points.

On Menchville's fourth match point, the Wildcats made numerous good returns to stay alive until a powerful Fields backhand volley coaxed them into a contest-ending error.

"We didn't look ahead," Fields said. "Before we knew it, it was deuce and our adrenaline started pumping."

As a Menchville freshman and sophomore, Fields played primarily a support role to Graham Wilson as they swept the district and regional crowns. With McCroskey, Fields took two more district doubles crowns and repeated as runners-up to PA – last year's winning Cavaliers were Lilland and Sam Stearney, who's now in Virginia Tech's ROTC program.

In Thursday's rematch, McCroskey thought the score didn't reflect the match's competitiveness.

"I felt we played well," the future Randolph-Macon Yellow Jacket said. "We had a lot of game opportunities and we just couldn't shut the door."

Now the Monarchs will get ready for Tuesday's match against Central Region runner-up Cosby at Huntington Park, when they will give the Peninsula District a rare state quarterfinal appearance. Fields also would like to register his first state victory, whether it's in team competition, doubles or all of the above.

"Our goal is to become a little better-known at state," he said. "We've been playing to get to here. We've accomplished our first goal, but now we want to accomplish our second."

Other crowns

All of the other championship matches were won by Beach District entries. Lilland, soon headed back to his native Denmark (his father has worked in Hampton Roads with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), repeated as the singles champ by beating Granby's Laguna Foster 6-2, 6-0.

Olivia Large – long a national-level talent – completed a "triple crown" of girls team, singles and doubles crowns in her first season as a Cox Falcon. She defeated Princess Anne's Danika Kahatapitiya 6-3, 6-0 in the singles final and joined Kait Brogan to defeat Kahatapitiya and Victoria Alexander 6-4, 6-1 in doubles.

Boys
Singles final:
Fredric Lilland (Princess Anne) d. Laguna Foster (Granby) 6-2, 6-0.
Doubles semis:
Jake Fields-Stuart McCroskey (Menchville) d. Blake Lassiter-Daniel Patterson (Great Bridge) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4; Lilland-Robert Levin (Princess Anne) d. Alex Krupp-Chris Miller (Hickory) 7-5, 6-3.
Doubles final:
Lilland-Levin d. McCroskey-Fields 6-1, 6-2.

Girls
Singles final:
Olivia Large (Cox) d. Danika Kahatapitiya (Princess Anne) 6-3, 6-0.
Doubles semis:
Kahatapitiya-Victoria Alexander (Princess Anne) d. Perry Keatley-Evelien Steendam (Maury) 6-0, 7-5;
Large-Kait Brogan (Cox) d. Rachel Farmer-Abby Witynski (Hickory) 6-2, 6-1.
Doubles final:
Large-Brogan d. Kahatapitiya-Alexander 6-4, 6-1.